When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, nearly every individual, business and nonprofit organization saw a drastic change in their day-to-day activities. For organizations with a disaster recovery plan in place, many of the obstacles faced had a solution waiting. In many cases, remote work took the place of days in the office. Zoom meetings took the place of face-to-face meetings. For organizations without a disaster recovery plan, adjusting to the new “normal” likely took some additional time, trial and error, and a lot of patience.

When an unforeseen event takes place and brings operations to a halt, many organizations struggle to rebound. By establishing a disaster recovery plan, you can help your organization recover when a crisis does strike. Disaster recovery plans are designed to minimize interruptions and to restore some of your organization’s normal functioning as quickly and seamlessly as possible.Disaster Recovery

With the reliance on technology every day, one of the biggest areas of concern for a nonprofit organization should be data loss. There are many common ways in which data loss can occur in your organization:

  • Unintentional deletion or misplacement of files or programs
  • Failure of power, hardware, software, or data corruption
  • Natural disasters
  • Theft, hacking, viruses and other malicious acts

Based on the data loss issue alone, your organization should begin to develop a recovery plan. This plan should include steps taken on a recurring basis to ensure first and foremost that your organization’s data is backed up and secure. This will enable your organization to minimize the disruption of the disaster and move back towards normalcy smoothly and quickly. While a big one, data loss is not the only potential disaster that your organization should prepare for in advance.

Maintaining A Disaster Recovery Plan

The following steps can assist your organization in establishing and maintaining a disaster recovery plan:

  • Establish a planning team to develop an emergency management plan.
  • Gather information about possible hazards and emergencies and determine your facility’s capabilities for handling such emergencies.
  • Identify critical assets, critical operations, key personnel, and an alternate business location.
  • Once you establish a plan, be sure to routinely test the plan. Immediately following each test, address any shortcoming or failures, and update procedures as needed.

Continuity and recovery plan templates are available online. Find a template that best fits your organization’s needs and begin your preparations. Disaster recovery plans are worth the time and cost commitment to help your organization get back on the right track if a disaster strikes. The coronavirus pandemic has shown how quickly things can change for an organization and how long such an interruption to normalcy can last. It is important that your organization develop a disaster recovery plan to help aid in situations such as this in the future.

Please contact the Not-for-Profit Niche team at Gilliam Bell Moser LLP for further guidance.

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Lindsay Lang - Greensboro CPA Firm

Lindsay Lang, CPA
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